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July 16, 2012

The Week in Quotes

July 9-July 15

by Hudson Belinsky, Jonah Birenbaum, Andrew Koo and Matthew Rocco

OZZIE SPARS WITH HARPER, NATIONALS OVER PINE TAR
“First time, it’s going to stay between us/ I could have said a lot of [stuff] about this kid. I’ve been praising this kid like everyday. The last three times they asked me about him, the only thing I said was he’s a great player. What he did [today] was unprofessional. I’m not going to tell you guys what he did because I’m not going to be talking about it on ESPN, “Baseball Tonight,” what happened again. I’ll just leave it like that. I’ll talk to his manager in a little while.”
—Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen accused Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper of using too much pine tar on his bat, calling the rookie’s actions “unprofessional.” Guillen yelled profanities in Harper’s direction during his at-bat in the fourth inning. (Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post)

“I was just telling [Harper] how cute he was. Something happened there the inning before, and I didn’t like it and I was talking to the umpire about it.”
—Guillen

“Ozzie had complained that the pine tar was too high up on Harper’s bat. So we changed it. Then he was still chirping about it. It got on the umpire’s nerves. It got on my nerves. He was trying to intimidate my player, I guess. That’s not going to bother our player. He does what he has to do.”
—Nationals manager Davey Johnson

“It’s such a fine line. They put the pine tar on, it’s only supposed to be at the top of the label. Some guys, it might be over half an inch or something. There’s still a foot of the barrel to hit it with. If you hit it on the pine tar, it’s going to shatter everything. They replace the ball all the time, anyway. What’s the big deal?”
—Johnson

“He battles for his team, and that’s the type of manager Ozzie is. He’s a great manager to play for. He’s going to battle for you, no matter what. That’s a manager you want to play for.”
—Harper

R.A. DICKEY DENIED ALL-STAR START
“I know Dickey is going to pitch. I think it's a great story. I'm very aware of the first half he's had. The one edge that I thought would make sense is that we have Buster [Posey] catching, and Matt [Cain] was equally deserving. I just know [Dickey] is going to pitch in the first half of the game.”
—NL All-Star manager Tony La Russa on choosing Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain over the Mets’ R.A. Dickey to start the All-Star Game. (Paul White, USA Today)

“We want to reward Matt Cain for a great career of excellence. It's a tough call.”
—La Russa

“I would hope not. You're talking about the best baseball players in the world. To say someone's got a pitch that's too nasty for the best? … Wherever I pitch, it will be great. It will be an honor.”
—Dickey on whether his knuckleball should have prevented him from starting the game.

VERLANDER CAN’T HANDLE THE HEAT
“That's why I don't try to throw 100 in the first inning—it doesn't usually work out too well for me.”
Detroit Tigers starter Justin Verlander, on his disastrous start for the AL All-Stars on Tuesday night. The 2011 AL MVP surrendered five earned runs on four hits and two walks while striking out two over his one inning of work. (John Lowe, Detroit Free Press)

“I don't want to give up runs, and I know (this game) means something. But we're here for the fans, and I know the fans don't want to see me throw 90 and try to hit the corners. So let (it go) and have fun. ... I really enjoyed being here.”
—Verlander

“When I throw (the fastball full speed) early, it's hard for me to command it when I haven't established my delivery.”
—Verlander

APPEL HEADING BACK TO STANFORD
“We would much prefer to have Mark Appel. We drafted Mark Appel to sign Mark Appel.”
—Pirates general manager Neal Huntington after it was announced the team did not sign Appel, the eighth overall pick. Appel turned down a $3.8 million bonus. (Bill Brink, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“We were told that [$3.8 million] would not reach his value, that they would not be signing with the Pirates. We continued to engage in conversation with the hopes of changing their minds. We weren't able to do so.”
—Huntington

“We took a calculated gamble. It didn't work out for us. The upside is, now we have a chance to get the ninth pick in the next year's draft and our regular pick. This, too, shall pass. We move forward.”
—Huntington

BAUTISTA DISAPPOINTED OVER DERBY PERFORMANCE
“It's like Ricky Bobby said, 'If you're not first you're last.' That's the way I look at things.”
—Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, who quoted Talladega Night’s titular character to express his disappointment with finishing second in Monday’s Home Run Derby. (Shi Davidi, Sportsnet.ca)

“I'm just a little disappointed in myself because I know what I'm capable of doing, and I didn't really execute.”
—Bautista

“That's awesome, I was having fun when (Fielder) was hitting them out, too. It was great to see him putting on a show. I just wanted to put on a better show myself because I know what I can do, and I feel I let some people down.”
—Bautista

TEAGARDEN RETURNS IN BIG WAY
“Oh man, I wanted to run home as fast as I could. I never had a walk-off home run. From my point of view it looked like a double. I thought I hit it off the scoreboard right there. I was surprised they made the call so quick. I was just like, ‘Get me home.’ ”
—Baltimore catcher Taylor Teagarden, who homered in just his second at-bat of the season to lift the Orioles to an extra-innings walk-off victory over the Tigers on Friday night. The 28-year-old hadn’t played a major-league game in eleven months due to a back injury. (Eduardo A. Encina, Baltimore Sun)

“I never thought I would see this day. I felt like it was miles away when I was told the situation health-wise, for me. I'm just so glad to be somewhat pain-free and to be able to play in a big-league game. There's so many things you have to do to prepare and play at this level. I'm just so happy to be here right now.”
—Teagarden

“Got me good. Never saw it coming.”
—Teagarden on the triumvirate of celebratory pies in the face he received after his Friday night heroics, from Robert Andino, Adam Jones, and Mark Reynolds, respectively.

MELKY MOST VALUABLE ALL-STAR, BUT HOW VALUABLE IS HE?
“The fans treated me very well here [in Kansas City]. I didn't come to win an MVP. That's just a surprise. It's a great gift the Lord gave me.”
—Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera, who singled and homered in the Midsummer Classic. (Lyle Spencer, MLB.com)

“I've been very happy with all the teams I've played for. They all treated me very well. But it's an executive decision in terms of being traded. You have to be mentally ready, physically ready, for those decisions that you have no control over. It was a business decision that the Royals traded me. San Francisco is my new team, and I'm very happy to be here.”
—Cabrera

“I'm a free agent next year, but the Giants organization is treating me very well. So I would welcome staying with the Giants. [...] I'd like to be on a team more than two or three years, like maybe the rest of my career, and maybe in San Francisco.”
—Cabrera on staying in San Francisco for the future. (Chris Haft, MLB.com)

“We are open to it, and we would hope that at some point both sides can have a conversation to at least lay the groundwork and kind of set some parameters. The $64,000 question, though, is how many years and how much money. I think there is strong mutual interest…”
Giants GM Brian Sabean on constructing a new deal for Cabrera. (Tom Tolbert and Ray Ratto, KNBR Conversation)

TWITTER

Felix Hernandez on his contract situation in Seattle. King Felix can become a free agent after the 2014 season, when he’ll be just 28. (Jon Heyman, @JonHeymanCBS, CBS Sports)

—Apparently Cano’s swing isn’t easy enough. Sabathia’s teammate not only failed to repeat as champion of the Home Run Derby, but failed to hit a single blast and walked out of the batter’s box to boos at Kauffman Stadium. (Buster Olney, @Buster_Olney, ESPN)

—Former manager and current MLB executive Joe Torre apparently opposes the expansion of instant replay and, presumably, robot umpiring. Perhaps Torre, like many of his contemporaries, values the human element more than accuracy.

—Super agent Scott Boras on how a broken system is to blame for Mark Appel (a Boras client) and his failure to reach an agreement with the Pirates prior to Friday’s signing deadline. Appel will play another season at Stanford, then enter the 2013 draft as one of the top prospects in another relatively weak draft class. (John Grupp, @JohnGrupp_trib, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

—Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers on what he told outfielder Justin Upton in a recent meeting. Upton’s name has filled the rumor mill over the past several days. (Nick Piecoro, @nickpiecoro, Arizona Republic)

—AL manager Ron Washington on the All-Star Game. (Jeff Wilson, @JeffWilson_FWST, Fort Worth Star Telegram)

THE REST
“It's tough for me saying the contract is a discount. Come on, it's $85 million. It's more money than I ever thought I would make in my life. I'm happy with my decision, and I can just concentrate on playing baseball, which is more important to me.”
—Angels starter Jered Weaver on the contract extension he signed last season. The SoCal native may not have capitalized on the market for his particular set of skills, but hey, it’s $85 million. (Bob Nightengale, USA Today)

“I'm a stubborn guy. We're not going to change the direction that we think is best for the player and best for the franchise, so we're going to do what's best for the player.”
—Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo on the self-imposed innings limit for Stephen Strasburg. (Tom Green, MLB.com)

“I was laughing and saying we’re going to have the steroid people coming in and test us (Sunday) after Esky went deep twice. They’ll wonder what’s going on.”
—Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur, who was pleasantly surprised by light-hitting teammate Alcides Escobar’s multi-homer performance in Saturday’s 6-3 win over the White Sox. Prior to Saturday’s contest, Escobar had just 11 home runs in 433 career games. (Bob Dutton, Kansas City Star)

“I used my cutter because I knew it would stay flatter with late movement. It gives the impression that it's almost rising. Hitters are trained to see the dip in the cutter, and it would stay true. The ball will still move laterally in Denver. I tried to use that to my advantage.”
Angels starter C.J. Wilson, on taking advantage of Coors Field’s park effects with his selective pitching repertoire. (Troy E. Renck, The Denver Post)

“He just looks like a confident guy now, and I think that was based on the fact he was playing well when he was brought up here and got off to a good start. Whenever you have some failures when you go from Triple-A and dominate the way he does to the big leagues and get off to a bad start, you tend to put more pressure on yourself. For the first time, he had success right away, and he's riding that, starting to accept himself and his ability at the big-league level.”
—Athletics manager Bob Melvin, on first baseman Chris Carter’s hitting after being called up from the PCL. Carter has five home runs in nine games. (Jane Lee, MLB.com)

“We don’t like each other. It’s like Bird and Magic. He’s Magic, I’m Bird.”
—Rookie superstar Mike Trout, joking on his relationship with Bryce Harper. (Alden Gonzalez, MLB.com)

“Why are you so serious all the time? I haven't thought about the contract one bit. I'll keep saying it. I'm praying about it. My wife's praying about it. I love Texas. We'd love to stay in Texas. But obviously we put the talks, as a mutual agreement, on hold between us and the club, until the season’s over. When the season's over, we'll restart them. So it's not like we're going to run off into free agency and give everybody a shot before the Rangers. There's that loyalty there.”
—Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, when asked about his impending free agency. (Mike Bauman, MLB.com)

Jonah Birenbaum is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jonah's other articles. You can contact Jonah by clicking here
Andrew Koo is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Andrew's other articles. You can contact Andrew by clicking here

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